Action from a previous match at Eko2012
By Demola Ojo
Team Lagos Saturday emerged winner of both the men’s and women’s football event at the National Sports Festival which winds to a close today after two weeks of excitement. The Lagos men’s team beat Cross River 2-0 at the Agege Stadium thus following in the footsteps of their women, who earlier Saturday defeated Akwa Ibom 4-0 at the same stadium.
Ochuko Jacob who had been wasteful in front of goal on a number of occasions in the opening half but made amends in the 45th minute when he profited from a howler by Cross River keeper Agbor Ekondo to nod home from close range.
The second was very competitive as Cross River pushed for the equalizer to no avail until Lagos midfielder, Kabiru Nosiru, made sure of the result with a shot from 20 yards out past Ekondo in goal to secure the gold for his team.
Speaking with THISDAY on the double victory in the football competition, Lagos State FA Chairman, Seyi Akinwunmi, was elated that preparations for the Festival bore fruit as he was adamant that it was no fluke.
“We attribute the victories to God first and the hard work, dedication and discipline of the various committees involved. We’re not surprised because these are just manifestations of Eko Football, which proves that success can be achieved when things are done properly,” he said.
Harping on the long term approach the Lagos FA is taking towards football development he said, “We are not disbanding this team. We will keep inviting them from time to time to participate in competitions because they are good winners.”
From all indications, Lagos State’s dominance in the football event may continue as Akinwunmi continued, “We have the future stars, our U-13 team that have won every competition they have entered. Our plan is that in five years, at least six of them would be members of the national team.”
Also Saturday, Edo and Delta beat Osun and Kwara in third place matches to claim bronze in women’s and men’s football events respectively.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s closing ceremony is bound to be fitting end to a successful festival according to the Secretary General of the festival’s Local Organisng Committee, Kweku Tandoh. The closing ceremony taking place at the Teslim Balogun Stadium will feature leading Nigerian entertainers like 2face Idibia, Wizkid, Seun Kuti, Wande Cole and KWAM I among others.
“Even before the official closing ceremony starts at about 6pm, we would have the gates open from about 12 noon and between that time and 6pm there will be a lot of entertainment and musical shows entertaining the crowd before the closing ceremony and after the closing ceremony the party continues as there will be fireworks and more. It is going to be an event we believe will stay in the minds of everyone that sees it,” he added.